Songbook #7

by Mattin

This record was made collectively by:

Lucio Capece: bass clarinet, sampler
Marcel Dickhage: voice, sampler, texts in German
Colin Hacklander: drums
Farahnaz Hatam: computer
Mattin: voice, texts in English
Moor Mother: electronics
Cathleen Schuster: voice, sampler, texts in German

Recorded live at Digging The Global South Festival
on the 2th of November 2017, Stadtgarten, Cologne

Mixed by Mattin, April-July 2018 at the Burger of Christ, Berlin
Mastered and cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin

Special thanks to Thomas Glaesser and Musikfond

Thanks to Anthony Iles, Mirene Arsanios, Federica Bueti, Miguel Prado, Ray Brassier, Samo Tomšič, Lisa Rosendahl, Karolin Meunier, Paweł Nowożycki, David Bremner and Munster Records

Munster Records (Madrid)


Songbook #7 features Farahnaz Hatam, Colin Hacklander, Lucio Capece, Moor Mother, Cathleen Schuster & Marcel Dickhage and was recorded in November 2017 at Digging the Global South Festival in Cologne, while Europe was (still is) slowly going down. Exactly 100 years ago Europe was really crumbling. However, there was a proposition for a collective future in process. This songbook takes two moments as historical inspiration in order to rethink the present:

1) The first seven months of 1917 in revolutionary Russia.

2) The figure of Germaine Berton (pictured on the cover), the anarchist who in 1923 was accused of murdering Marius Plateau, director of the far-right organization French Action League.

In a time of war and fascism, those were two very different answers: a collective attempt at social transformation and a desperate lonely gesture. Neither response really managed to succeed to overthrow capitalism but they had a motivation and a clear way to act, something that seems to be lacking right now. If previous songbooks dealt with the tension between improvisation and song structure, between an emphasis on the production of the moment and having a conceptual framework, here the tension is produced by conflating the present with the past, and in doing so the tension between communism and anarchism is also explored. The tension between the individual and the collective is also present in the making of the record (especially in track 6, a discussion of its own objectives and degrees of success). A review of “Songbook #6” actually took Mattin as the name of the group, which puts into question what Mattin is: just another example of the fiction of selfhood.

“Songbook #7” digs into some of the most important issues today: dissolution and disappointment of the social fabric, the rise of fascism, lack of coherence in a collective vision for the future and the shortcomings of democracy in a capitalist system. These times feel like being stuck in a gif, and here the response is to look for different understandings of time and history.

If you want some musical references you can imagine one of those collaborations between Red Crayola and Art and Language if it was produced by Roberta Settels, or if Rabit was asked to do a remix of Nono’s “La Fabbrica Illuminata”, taking into account the Altoforno di Cornigliano factory’s demolition in 2005. This great line-up tries to think the present through the lenses of radical historical moments and in doing so it achieves a music both arcane and futuristic. Layers of avant-garde tradition culminate into a set of songs that go beyond themselves. In times of increasing desperation here emerges a strange record: a disintegrated manifesto exploring the truth of disagreement.

Selected at the top 3 of 2018 for TJ Norris (Tone Shift)


Selected as part The Wire Office Ambience December 2018, #418 (London)

The Wire

Radio Plays:

14. 2. 2019 - 23:00

Tokrat v glasbi zgolj glasba in zvočenja, marsikatera z glasom v ospredju, bodisi v krhki pesmi, ki ponikuje v tišino, bodisi v raztelešenju s šumom. Poslušamo japonski dvojec glasu in kitare TAKU SUGIMOTO & MINAMI SAEKI, pesmi z njune druge plošče, pa novo sodelovanje Britancev JOHNA WALLA & ALEXA RODGERSA v spoju rezke poezije in elektronskih zvokov. V raztelešenje glasu, tudi skozi elektronsko obdelavo in spremljavo violončela, nas bo peljala AUDREY CHEN, v oddajo pa se vrača baskovski konceptualni umetnik MATTIN s sedmo edicijo svoje serije Songbook, tokrat v sodelovanju z Luciem Capecejem, Moor Mother, Cathleen Schuster, Farahnazom Hatamom, Colinom Hacklanderjem in Marcelom Dickhageom, s katerimi tematizira prvih sedem mesecev ruske revolucije leta 1917 in francosko anarhistko Germaine Berton. Obenem bomo slišali prvo elektronsko glasbo čelistke OKKYUNG LEE. V oddaji bomo prisluhnili novemu tolkalskemu branju Cageeve kompozicije One4  s strani tolkalca MATTA HANNAFINA ter skladbi s prvenca nemško-slovensko-švedskega tria PUNKT.VRT.PLASTIK ...


1.) EVICTED - Punkt.Vrt.Plastik  
2.) X - Taku Sugimoto & Minami Saeki     
3.) ONE4 - John Cage (played by Matt Hannafin)
4.) IN THE - Audrey Chen   
5.) JULY - Mattin    
6.) I SOAR - John Wall & Alex Rodgers  
7.) SPECKLED STONES - Okkyung Lee

NENEH CHERRY, Kong, da "Broken Politics" – Smalltown Supersound STS343CD
ORKESTRA OF SPHERES, Omni Omni, da "Mirror" – Fire Records FIRELP535X 
LEE SCRATCH PERRY, Dub At Abbey Road, da "The Black Album" – Upsetter RLSUPSETTER 004CD
BEPPE SCARDINO, One for KD, da "BS 10 Live in Pisa" – Auand AU9079
NATHAN BOWLES, Now If You Remember, da "Plainly Mistaken" – Paradise Of Bachelors PoB-043
JULIE TIPPETTS, Lilies,  da "Sunset Glow" – Disconforme SL DISC 1967 CD
CHROME HILL, Galileo, da "The Explorer" – Clean Feed CF471CD
CHROME HILL, Drunken Sailor, da "The Explorer" – Clean Feed CF471CD
FRODE HALTLI, Trio, da "Avant Folk" – Hubro HUBROCD2604
JESSICA MOSS, Fractals: Truth 3, da "Entanglement" – Constellation CST138
NATHAN BOWLES, Girih Tiles, da "Plainly Mistaken" – Paradise Of Bachelors PoB-043
TORTURETTE feat. TOMMASUKI, Interlude #1, da "Terror" – Musichette Records
PHAROAH CHROMIUM, Une photographie a deux dimensions, da "Jean Genet. Quatre heures à Chatila" – autoprodotto
MATTIN, January, da "Songbook #7" – Munster Records MR386
broadcast on the FM dial on Sound Art Radio in Devon, UK and on Easy Street Radio

+ +

Antoine Chessex / Subjectivation / London 2015
Mattin / Songbook 7 / March
Attilio Novellino / A Conscious Effort / False Self Cage
Jlin / Autobiography / Carbon 12
Abbebe Tessemma / The Very Best Of Ethiopiques [Disc 2] / Ashasha Beyew
Møster! / States of Minds / Sounds like a Planet
Aviva Endean / cinder : ember : ashes / apparition : above
Daweh Congo / Human Rights & Justice / Human Rights & Justice
Y Niwl / Y Niwl / Deg
Brethren of the Free Spirit / The Wolf Also Shall Dwell With the Lamb / The Wolf Also Shall Dwell With the Lamb
Björk / Biophilia / Moon
The Doomed Bird Of Providence / Collision Detection v 7 / In the Terror of the Moment
Add N to (X) / Avant Hard / Skills
Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band / Don’t Stop Me / Calling (Alternate Version)
Dave Young & Lenny Breau / Live At Bourbon Street / I Fall In Love Too Easily
Chris Parmenidis / 8B5C3B++ / 8B5C3b++ (Edit)

Rádio Universitária do Minho: O Dominío dos Deuses
97.5 FM Braga, 05.11.2018, 22.00 - 24.00

Hora 2

Jason Forrest
Chase | Fear City | Cock Rock Disco

Jason Forrest
Subdivsion | Fear City | Cock Rock Disco

Jason Forrest
Biker Movies | Fear City | Cock Rock Disco

Jason Forrest
Demon Sun Ram | Fear City | Cock Rock Disco

February | Songbook #7 | Munster/Crudités/Insul...

Klara Lewis + Simon Fisher Turner
8 | Care | Mego

Mentor | Mentor | Planet Mu

M. Geddes Gengras
Nave | Light Pipe | Room40

Keisuke Matsuno, Moritz Baumgärtner + Lars Graugaard
Tomorrow Never Comes | Crush | Clang

Unconscious Archives


- Sally Golding - Milk Thistle (The Folklore of Plants Vol.I - Folklore Tapes)
- Stephen Cornford - Constant Linear Velocity (forthcoming on Consumer Waste in 2019)
- Myriam Bleau - Constructivism (forthcoming on Where To Now? In 2019)
- Jasmine Guffond - GPS Dreaming (Traced - Sonic Pieces)
- Sally Golding & Seymour Wright - live at Cafe OTO, London (live recording, 2016)
- Ross Manning - Reflex In Waves (Reflex In Waves - Room40, commemorating major survey exhibition Dissonant Rhythms at Institute of Modern Art, AU)
- Swan Meat - Lullabye (Tame EP - Bala Club)
- Klein - Explay (CC - self released)
- kutin | kindlinger ft. Elvin Brandhi - I Throne (Decomposition IV - Ventil Records)
- Xname - 109_Balfron_Tower (Nervous System - V/A - Alien Jams)
- Mattin - May (Songbook #7 - Munster Records)
- Sally Golding - Spirit Intercourse (AV composition for Contemporary Art Tasmania)
- Phantom Chips - Dullabye (unreleased studio material)
- This Imperial Can - Alpha20 (unreleased studio material)
- Sculpture - tapregrot1 (unreleased studio material)
- Hextape - Judgement (single - TSV)
- Mary Stark - Film As Fabric (Industrial Folklore Tapes Vol.111, Folklore Tapes)
- Maria W Horn - Tentacular Array (Excitation - Frustration - Excitation - Conditional)
- Enderie - feed time (Working Away) (Enderie II - Paradise Daily Records)
- Tara Transitory - live at Untraining The Ear, Savvy Contemporary, Berlin (live recording, 2017)
- Ewa Justka - Uncompromising Blackness (Name-dropping In The Style Of Florian Hecker - New York Haunted)
- Swan Meat (unreleased studio material)
- Miri Kat - 6r45p - گرفتن (Pursuit - تلاش - Establishment Records)
- Spatial - Calima (infra12009)
- Daniel M Karlsson - I set you (Expanding and Overwriting - Conditional)
- Jörg Piringer - el sys (Dark Voice - forthcoming on Transacoustic Research in 2019)
- Rkss - Load (Cutoff Ep - Alien Jams)
- Sculpture - tapregrot2 (unreleased studio material)
- Hannah Silva - Blank (Talk in a bit - Human Kind Records)
- Folklore Tapes - Cauldrons (Aid To Practice: Museum of Witchcraft and Magic Storeroom Tapes - Folklore Tapes)
- Bert Tenzer ‎– The Secret For Perpetual Life (promotional record for Bolex Motion Picture Cameras, 1963)



Flying Lotus Coronus, The Terminator > Siren Song > Turtles You're Dead! Warp
* Hate Drugs 6FT/YOU Tsunami Soul II Young Tide Records
* Catherine Lamb #3 Atmospheres Transparent/Opaque NEW WORLD
* Erik Griswold Day Dream Yokohama Flowers ROOM40

David Behrman (H) On The Other Ocean On the Other Ocean Lovely Music

Marcello Giordani Respect Yourself Respect Yourself Endless Flight
--- 3:00 AM BREAKPOINT ---

Logic1000 (L) Derriere S/T SUMAC

Anne-James Chaton, Andy & Thurston Moore Tout Ce Que Je Sais Herectics Unsounds

Brian and Chris Action Packed Vacation 3 Dielectric

Brother JT Son Of Man Off Blue Birdman
* Tomasz Bednarczyk Rainy Drive Illustrations for Those Who ROOM40
* Mattin May Songbook #7 MUNSTER

Ensemble Economique Interval Signals Part 1 Interval Signals Denovali
* Hama Bororo Houmeissa SAHEL SOUNDS
* Ustad Saami Longing God Is Not A Terrorist GLITTERBEAT
--- 2:00 AM BREAKPOINT ---
* Jessica Pavone Look out - Look out - Look out In the Action RELATIVE PITCH
* Moulay Ahmed El Hassani Yak Ennas Miklil Darou Labas Atlas Electric HIVE MIND
--- 1:00 AM BREAKPOINT ---
START OF SHOW: DJ SIGNED ON at 12:45 AM (2/21/19)
END OF SHOW: DJ Yeet SIGNED OFF at 12:44 AM (2/21/19)


toneshift (2018/10/21)

Coming soon from Basque experimenter Mattin is his next Songbook #7 which features Farahnaz Hatam, Colin Hacklander, Lucio Capece, Moor Mother, Cathleen Schuster & Marcel Dickhage. Mattin, who has been making various sounds since ’01 released his first Song Book in 2005. This record takes two historical references as a point of reference: Revolutionary Russia (circa 1917) and anarchist Germaine Burton (who appears on the cover) combining them to respond to, in his words: “dissolution and disappointment of the social fabric, the rise of fascism, lack of coherence in a collective vision for the future and the shortcomings of democracy in a capitalist system. These times feel like being stuck in a gif, and here the response is to look for different understandings of time and history.”

It’s a heavy, heady subject matter to wrap around, but the visual is so striking it makes perfect sense to give this one a very deep listen. Though a specific date has not been set for release, the seven individual tracks here each are dated in succession: 01 January through 07 July. Here’s are a few clips from his previous two, Songbook #5 and Songbook #6:


This begins with a voice that is blurred, distorted, and decomposing by way of frequencies and other electronic means. The voice splits into different forms, new voices are added, transmissions from another world, slowly twisting beyond recognition. I also noticed that the first six tracks here each run at almost exactly seven minutes each, with a longer conclusion. It’s a hazy white noise fusion that harkens to the b-movie feel of bot-like ‘take me to your leader’ futurism. A whirring industrial bottom feeding drone reverberates under your feet as these parties attempt to communicate a message only understood on alternate channels, through the din of static. As track two begins he speaks of revolution, into a dulling silence, that leads into a punky fever of broken frequencies and abstract percussive punctuation. A voice warns, a prepared saxophone blends wildly into the distortion. It’s a wild ride. It’s an on/off again contained chaos of its own making and origin that is one part Crass via The Gerogerigegege -inspired, documentary noise warfare, and the remaining in-between lay bare in a fearless atonality that has no edges as he blurts out something about “There is no freedom….&@)(&)#(&#((^@


I’d imagine this would be a fantastic spectacle to see in live performance. If jazz went to Hell and back it might begin to describe the pacing of the players on this record. This lays in that dangerous, obtuse, far-out space normally fit for acts like Nurse With Wound, The Hafler Trio, Terre Thaemlitz, Ultra Red, Lasse Marhaug, etc. Mattin is able to contain and expand upon his devious constructs by truly exploring the outer edge of sensory perception – by bending synths and murmurs back into a tranquil spoken word passage. The sax is moody and effective, as are the animated, wobbly vibes.

In a time of war and fascism, those were two very different answers: a collective attempt at social transformation and a desperate lonely gesture. Neither response really managed to succeed to overthrow capitalism but they had a motivation and a clear way to act, something that seems to be lacking right now. If previous songbooks dealt with the tension between improvisation and song structure, between an emphasis on the production of the moment and having a conceptual framework, here the tension is produced by conflating the present with the past, and in doing so the tension between communism and anarchism is also explored.


Capitalism is at the core of questioning access to means of production here. It’s an unconventional subject matter, one that in our time you’d imagine more artists would be exploring, but since we are re-re-living the ‘me generation’ in our era of the post-virtual-instant click of satisfaction, it’s hard to estimate the tangible. Mattin delivers a raw, emotive response to our social/political times, rarely heard these days. It’s ultimately such an enjoyable listen, with its endless characterizations, samples, whispers, squiggly sound effects and kitchen-sink approach, there are too many appropriations to speak of, it has to be heard to be believed. It’s an open and closed audio book of sorts, an abstract radio play. His use of silence is notable, mainly because there is so much to digest here, but it’s tailored to curious ears at every turn. Stay ’til the very last breath as you will be lost in a barren synergy between gasps and congas that becoming increasingly dissociative. It brings to bear our international, collective state of consciousness these days, ending with a delayed round of applause.

Touching Extremes  (By Massimo Ricci October 29, 2018)

In a Paris Transatlantic interview from 2009, Mattin pronounced the following words: “Nowadays I’m interested in making records that are more difficult to categorise. People tell me that what I do is too conceptual, that it’s no longer about music, that it’s post-music. But of course it’s about music. Perhaps not the music that you like, but I still play concerts and make records which contain sounds. It’s not about subtraction, as if bringing ideas prevents you from focussing on the music. It’s about adding ideas and concepts in order to explore what could be done without reaffirming or consolidating an established genre of music.

Nothing much has changed nine years later; or, maybe, everything has. The man is obviously conscious of the non-existence of silver linings in today’s sociopolitical clouds. Mattin’s response to the sinking of Europe (see the liner notes) is the politically charged Songbook #7, which – perhaps not coincidentally – comprises seven tracks titled after the first seven months of 1917 in Russia during the revolution. As always with this uncontrollable artist, the name of the game is throwing the listener/reader into a “nothing can be foreseen” frame of mind. The live recording (Cologne, 2017) features an orchestration grounded on a trio of vocalists reciting texts – often electronically disfigured – plus computer, drums, bass clarinet and sampler.

The music’s character is not classifiable, as per Mattin’s aesthetic of fragmentation of all meanings and intentions. This notwithstanding, there’s no question about its involuntary adherence to the rules of an electroacoustic theatre of the unexpected. The lyrics – at times comprehensible, elsewhere a mere chain of deformed robotic utterances – are more functional as an instrumental constituent than a manifesto. The sense of frustration experienced nowadays by every decently sensible being is explicated via cut-throat discharges within patches of extreme stridency, occasionally featuring words pronounced in screaming rage, distorted or less. This radical punkness is balanced by moments of (still tense) quietness – gotta love Lucio Capece’s clarinet lines in “March” – barely decipherable dialogues and even bucolic snapshots like the tweeting birds at the beginning of “July”. Somehow, a few sections evoked the work of composers such as Åke Hodell in this writer’s fantasy. However, this is a classic Mattin album that needs both an internal calibration and a correct mental predisposition; that is to say, no mental predisposition at all. Just catch what is thrown, if you’re able to.

A dramatic realism must not necessarily coincide with lucidity. But it does help us to come closer to that state.

Screemz (2018/12/29/ Chicago)

What I am about to review represents a great deal of why I go through the trouble of blogging and why I have been involved with playing, producing, and promoting music since the 80s; an effort that stands out asthetically with some provocative vital messages tied to music that also slaps listeners out of complacency to inspire small and large scale /immediate and long term fighting against existing conditions to ultimately passionately/creatively reorganize the possibilities of life for humans and the rest of the planet.  German mutant Mattin released one of the few recordings of 2018 that can be considered avant garde and revolutionary not only because this project calls itself stylistically “unfree improv,” “rational noise,”  “hell jazz,” “conceptual punk,” “post-non- music,” etc. and it is confrontational lyrically as well as aurally but because it is historically and dialectically examining the 21st century challenging us now with past early 20th century anarchist and communist attempts at revolutionary efforts ; Songbook#7 evokes the notion that Albert Einstein might’ve been onto something (and maybe on something if he encountered Freud snorting grams of  inspiration) with theorizing time as an accumulation of now moments without a past or future(also in line with many non European and indigenous cultures).

This is a unique recording that defies easy categorization which is in line with efforts to go beyond the limits of capitalist hierarchical society. Some similar minded recordings include earlier releases of The Ex such as Spanish Revolution or Marxist art and revolutionary theory project Art and Language combining “counter productive” (as in insurrectionist Italian anarchist Alfredo Bonanno’s definition of counter production as social activity counter to capitalist commodity relations of alienated labor and alienated leisure) forces with Mayo Thompson’s 70s post punk influenced version of Red Krayola/Red Crayola (initially an avant garage 60s band on the infamous Texas label International Records which also unleashed The 13th Floor Elevators on the rest of the world) . However with The Ex  didn’t make the kind of provocative connections that Mattin does here and they still performed as a punk rock band rather than as mad scientists somewhere between sound art and improvisation music ; Mayo Thompson’s collaboration with Art and Language had whimsical moments while Mattin is more upset, frustrated, puzzled, etc. as if he was confronted by spectres of dead anarchists and Leninists with his back against the wall for demanding better today.

I will let Mattin himself explain the M.O. for Songbook #7: “In a time of war and fascism, those were two very different answers: a collective attempt at social transformation and a desperate lonely gesture. Neither response really managed to succeed to overthrow capitalism but they had a motivation and a clear way to act, something that seems to be lacking right now. If previous songbooks dealt with the tension between improvisation and song structure, between an emphasis on the production of the moment and having a conceptual framework, here the tension is produced by conflating the present with the past, and in doing so the tension between communism and anarchism is also explored…”In times of increasing desperation here emerges a strange record: a disintegrated manifesto exploring the truth of disagreement. ,” —Mattin.

It should be noted that Western anarchism and Marxist communism since the 19th century have overlapped more than some would care to admit (usually ideologues that carry on the mistakes made by separating revolutionary theory and practice thus farting out ideology disconnected from their own lives and other they reach out to). It would take another blog or a think piece to dig deep into how anarchism and Marxism overlap in such efforts as communization, communist-egoism, Italian 70s autonomia , Dada and Surrealism’s embrace of anti-capitalist revolution which led to The Situationists, Black Mask-Up Against The Wall Motherfucker, the Chicago Surrealist Group,  etc. and lesser known avant garde projects, gender nihilism and moving beyond it, etc.

Songbook #7 needs to be absorbed all at once I feel. Read the lyrics as well if you aren’t trying to relax or aren’t at work with electronic and biological eyes upon you ready to crush moments of deviance.  The tracks are titled with the first seven months of the Russian Revolution so January – July.  The one two punch of the sounds and lyrics play better if you can read and listen. For example from “January” :
“If religion served as the opium of the people in the
revolutionary era,
conspiracy theory is crack cocaine for the age of hopelessness”

or  “March” :
“Punk meant not to get back to any origin
but to explore how rotten life is in this ashtray
Sexual fantasies reproduced in stereo
while a subject tries to understand what it is
and what is not
hitting its increasingly solitary head
against a cupboard full of ressentiment

Conditioning our own understanding
by understanding our conditioning

voting for something that every passing day makes less sense
How to believe in democracy when there is no equality?
According to Bordiga,
Communism did not happen in the Soviet Union
Russia was indeed a transitional society
but transitional towards capitalism ”

Yes Songbook #7 is loaded with levels of stimulation but the kind of stimulation that questions rather than escapes into mazes of  spectacular garbage about the latest celebrities and their bloopers while another “police action”news alert happens ,something about more angry Black mobs and police “allegedly” killing somebody in their hood, but don’t worry you will get to see more of the drunken celebrities again! This also inspires a revolutionary ludic look at moments happening currently such as the Yellow Vest Movement and whether this and other movements are a meme gone wild and/or liberatory possibilities will open up for further open ended yet anti-hierarchical/ anti-capitalist/internationalist/extranationalist/transversal because of it or will some weaknesses in the movement just let it fizzle out. It is hard to say right now since all of our activities contain contradictions but the element of surprise and the need to play infinite games for the play/adventure itself without reducing them to finite games with definitive endings which often includes reproducing the bullshit we were trying to move away from( ex. the whole spectrum of capitalist politics electoral and vanguardist or authoritarian) also are elements occurring (at least among many if not consciously affirmed by all the participants of this movement). Mattin and his collaborators give us one of the year’s best that will be useful over the years and right now (but if you agree more with the indigenous people and scientists such as Einstein then you will celebrate our past victories and future victories as inevitable while hoping we make the same mistakes better and better to move into better paths).

Nostalgia for an age yet to come?

Idwalfisher (4th February 2019)

A concept album about the Russian Revolution? Well, I could do with a heads up on that subject. Imagine having to study it though? Jeez, you could be there a lifetime. What do I know about it? About as much as I know about Mattin. I’m glad he sent me this record though as it gives me the chance to gen up on both of them. So after half an hour with Wikipedia getting my brain fried I learnt that the Russian Revolution of 1917 was actually two revolutions. Its complicated. Basically it makes Brexit look like an argument at the check out in Tescos.

It inspired Mattin to make Songbook #7 though. Mattin is anti-copyright, pro free software and ‘against the notion of intellectual property’. His label ‘w.m. o/r’ [which on perusal has plenty to tempt the tastebuds] encourages sharing and copying. He’s from Bilbao. He’s into noise and improv. He’s my kind of guy. But still I know little of him. I do know that he’s been active since the beginning of the 2000’s and that he’s collaborated with the likes of Junko, Philip Best and Tony Conrad. He’s a very busy man.

The blurb for Songbook #7 says at its very end that ‘this is a strange record’. Which after a first listen were my thoughts exactly. A collaboration between Lucio Capece, Marcel Dickhage, Colin Hacklander, Faranz Hatam, Moor Mother and Cathleen Schuster as recorded live at the Digging the Global South Festival in Cologne at the back end of 2017. Which is almost a hundred years to the day since the second Russian Revolution of 1917.
Its seven tracks all commemorate the first seven months of the Russian Revolution and are named after the months. All of them are of about the same running time [seven minutes] except for July which clocks in at just over ten minutes. While on the cover we have the defiant stare of the anarchist Germain Berton who in 1923 murdered the director of the French far right group French Action League.

Instrumentation ranges from clarinet, drums, electronics, computer, samples and various texts spoken in German and English. The first words you hear are ‘nineteen seventeen’, presumably spoken by Mattin and from there on in its a full on weirdfest with blasts of noise, cyclical clarinet drones and computer chatter being the cracker upon which treated spoken word samples are smeared thick and heavy. Its like Kraftwerk and Costes made a noise improv album with their mates while reading tracts from books on the Russian Revolution as they got into their groove. Thats the best I can do. Its pretty much unlike anything I’ve ever heard before. Which is a good thing.

There are revolutionary chants ‘There is no freedom in a normative vacuum’, the sounds of crows and garden birds, in June we get to listen to a conversation between the group; a female voice says ‘you have nothing to say?’, ‘It makes me feel really sick to see so much fascism around’ comes the reply. There are long gaps of silence between question and answer. July comes with an ever increasing volume ration and Mattin shouting ‘ELECT, ELECT, ELECT’ over it.

Each track stands apart from its neighbour giving the album a structured, songbook feel while also making it an album you’ll want to return to at a later date, if only to try and fathom it out or listen once again to the various sampled texts that litter it. Its been spun here several times, each spin revealing deeper nuance and text. ‘June’ apart its one for the noise connoisseur.

How much of this is improvised I know not. I find it hard to imagine that they took to the stage that night with out any preparation at all but then what do I know? What would Lenin have said? True revolutionaries do it noisy improv style. ELECT, ELECT, ELECT. Perhaps.

cowsarejustfood (20th February 2019)

fuck do you start with something like this? a gordian knot of text and noise, improv and rhetoric, concept and execution, the absurd and blank.

my initial contrarian urge for an album this dense was to write the entire piece around june, where two thirds in, the record grinds to a halt. seven awkward minutes of stilted discussion – are we succeeding at disobedience? – presented as metaphor, self-sabotage or plain old discord.

you have nothing to say? i have nothing to say. i love the silence.

i like making sounds, is what feels the most honest of the statements.

it threw me, and after weeks of listening still infuriates / disorients, niggling like a toothache (which may be the point) as there’s little sense of conversational flow or the back and forth of improv (which again might be the point).

but i started again…

there’s a line in january that stands out, thrown away amidst the tumult of situationist hollering, historical pamphleteering and shrieks of despair:

liberals listen to leonard cohen

now i’m chewing on words, the musicality of language. it’s such a pleasingly meaningless sounding, tongue-rolling line, on an album where they’re frequently rendered incomprehensible. the accompanying text, a burroughsian cut up of historical textbook and crass lyric sheet, is not so much an explanation as a puzzle piece.

it’s a track that starts with the workers strike and jumpcuts to cambridge analytica, child abuse and conspiracy theory, and here i am mulling over what feels like a smart-ass tweet…

but it gets me thinking, words have a tendency to collapse into generalities and banality, revolutionary rhetoric reduced to the glib, subsumed, consumed, shat out as 280 characters or t-shirt print. and it feels like the level of political discourse we currently have.

so i’m chuckling

at the hardcore punk sloganeering ‘dark / darth vader / dick cheney / satan’ till i remember that so much of history and present is framed like this, comic book villainy disguising very real threats of fascism.

at the ‘bannon the leninist’ chant in february, till i remember

lenin wanted to destroy the state and that’s my goal too. i want to bring everything crashing down and destroy all of today’s establishment.


bukharin: the state had to be destroyed as a condition of socialism. unless it is destroyed society would be reduced to a servile atomised mass under the heel of the new barons of finance capitalism.

mattin: the state will come down. the establishment will be dissolved. and all your racist beliefs will be crushed down.

and it’s the spider-man pointing at spider-man meme writ large. all sides presenting themselves as revolutionary. as an album it’s not a manifesto, more a mirror, broken, reflections upon reflections upon reflections…

that’s been another distraction / digression. so, if not words then story.

the narrative? there is no narrative, and there is nothing but narrative. overthought, overwrought, overstimulated, overwhelming. 1917 via 1923 via 2017. chronologically and geographically all over the goddamn place. all is fractured. echoing the incoherent / inchoate nature of these post-millenium years.

bukharin, child poverty, venezuala, abdication, lenin’s home, punk’s arrived, democracy’s done and greece is fucked. all transition’s beyond capitalism. so it goes…

considering this as some bastard concept album it’s hard not to trace lines from pre-october revolution to germaine berton to now. we want, we need, to impose a logic to past present future. deserving of one or not.

are we talking history or ahistory?

we’re forever trapped in loops of destructive failure and in spite of assassinations, strikes and politicking nothing changes. the past failures of communism and anarchism as framed here, have left us resigned to capitalism (in whatever form it takes) as the last man standing of political / social / economic system.

and i think of ibsen’s ghosts, the revenants, the cycle of things.

i am half inclined to think we are all ghosts, mr. manders. it is not only what we have inherited from our fathers and mothers that exists again in us, but all sorts of old dead ideas and all kinds of old dead beliefs and things of that kind.

things we see, we know, but can’t seem to understand or discard or oppose.

the past offers no answers, no comfort, which leaves us what? the now, the theatre of the absurd and the spectacle.

well this is a live recording so let’s focus on the performative aspects of noise. the action / reaction / interaction. except it’s relatively inscrutable – we (i) aren’t (amn’t) / weren’t (wasn’t) there. even if audience dependent i guess it still plays out in our heads as story, as film, as screed, as score.

so fuck history (there’s a theme developing…) let’s lazily fall back on the one-sheet listen-if-you-like.

the liner notes make reference to luigi nono and i dig the sense of music as politic, as radicalism manifest. a nod at nono’s 68 via billy bao’s may 08 might make more sense here given the paris / musica manifesto parallels going on now. even if those recordings, of that time, don’t quite align here, which is of no particular time.

we could get into red crayola / art & language’s kangaroo and their dislocative pop-marxism and soviet conceptualising, which is way more fucking polite and a lot less interesting than this.

but i guess if yr objective is making records that are difficult to categorise, that play with the concept of what’s meant by music or concert, that are as much about the politics and process of making music as the sounds contained within, then this idle analogising seems somewhat redundant.

which is odd because (june excepted) this is one of the more musically coherent works i’ve heard from mattin recently. with the stumbling jazz reed hoom, garbled vox, broken beats and machine noise it’s almost (lazy, i know…) like wandering in on later period wolf eyes / stare case.

there’s no exquisite corpse at play, just a mush of language and electronics, drums and clarinet, vomited out by a gleeful disruption of group dynamic. because christ knows who’s doing what (drums and clarinet scrawled across it all, but y’know half the collective’s on sampler).

(really, why separate bao / mattin / the group / the improvisation)

and throughout this faceless stramash, vocals are destroyed, distorted, buried, bled. i’m guessing intentionally, symbolically.

sonically, it can’t decide whether it wants to build and explode or disintegrate around itself, frequently doing both, and dragging me back to the history lesson.

the music? there is no music, there is nothing but music. overthought, overwrought, overstimulated, overwhelming. everything about this record is too much. strains, whines and rumbles like tanks down streets. birdsong, gabber, newtons cradle, pop phrasing, break through concrete on occasion but generally, it’s an inexorable howl.

it ends as all things must, circling the drain, falling apart. the 7th track abandons the 7 minute length (is 10:43 significant? i gave up at bible chapters and police codes) and as july rolls around we’re back to the transformational possibilities of destruction.

someone states earlier

your world is crumbling, ours is being built up.

fitting with the ambivalence smeared over everything here, i wonder whose world?

bulletproofsocks (4th November 2018)

According to Mattin's liner notes for this release, '“Songbook #7” digs into some of the most important issues today: dissolution and disappointment of the social fabric, the rise of fascism, lack of coherence in a collective vision for the future and the shortcomings of democracy in a capitalist system.' The sounds assembled hereby (which were recorded live) effectively mirror the lyrical/thematic concept, presenting a - seemingly - incoherent and agonizing mood, with vocals/screams attacking without prior warning, showcasing this insecurity, lack of stability, and absence of strong political bases for the oppressed to lean against. It's quite important that Mattin makes parallels between the first six months of 1917 in pre-October Revolution, Russia, where the emergence of a bourgeois-democratic revolution could not sustain a coherent revolutionary program against war, oppression and reaction, and the presence of a supposedly fully democratic globalized society, where war breaks out everywhere and Islam is being targeted as the enemy of the "civilized world." I am referring to these two words as they are screamed in the second unsettling track in the recording amid screams of something about Lenin. If I could relate the mindset here to a specific quote, that would be from Adorno and Horkheimer in the preface to Dialectic of Enlightenment, where they say that "critical thought, [...] does not call a halt before progress."

Musically, this is a combination of spoken words with enveloping ambient/noise electronics (track 4 starts with an impressive manipulation of what sounds a field recording of crow), free jazz/avantgarde/atonal breakouts on clarinet. Though I could parallel this journey to what recent Faust are doing, there is too much breadth and exploration for a listener to pay attention to, something that can't be encapsulated in a short review. The good thing is that Mattin has made this available for free on his bandcamp, so you can go over there and be immersed in this weird ocean of sounds. 2018 lp due on Munster Records.


La musique de Mattin est prétexte à soulever des questions sans forcément apporter de réponse, de nous mettre face aux dilemmes d’un monde, le notre, qui ne semble pas vouloir changer, répétant à l’infini les mêmes erreurs, au point d’en devenir vomitif.

Songbook #7 est un acte provocateur, un opus de punk noise, de free jazz et de musique expérimentale, qui prend comme point de départ les sept premiers mois de la Révolution russe en 1917, comme ils aurait pu faire référence à 1929 ou 1933.

Enregistré live en 2017 au Digging The Global South Festival, aux cotés d’artistes tels que Moor Mother, Cathleen Schuster, Farahnaz Hatam, Colin Hacklander, Marcel Dickhage et Lucio Capece, l’artiste basque Mattin propose de bousculer nos sens et de réveiller notre conscience, de voyager sur des terres tapies de pièges auditifs et d’agressions psychologiques. Une oeuvre collective sans concession qui revisite le temps et opte pour remuer le passé à coups de punchlines et de slogans politiquement engagés.

Songbook #7 réussit le tour de force de garder éveillé nos capteurs sensoriels et de frapper avec vigueur notre histoire commune, ressuscitant les maux d’antan enrobés de mots actuels, travaillant la matière musicale comme une philosophie mélodique pleine de sens et de conflits, de chocs et de viscéralité, d’amour et de haine, de contractions et de contradictions. Très fortement recommandé.

Roland Torres

Boring like a drill (30th November 2019)

I presume there is nothing unique about me associating Mattin with provocation. Thinking over it, every one of those provocative actions that I can remember was made in good faith. I received a nice email from him asking to give thoughtful consideration to his latest release, Songbook #7, as he is worried that listeners might not engage with it. There is much about the album that invites reading between the lines, but I suspect that approach would be to overthink it.

A small fracture appears when reading the liner notes: the record is credited to Mattin yet it states that “this record was made collectively”. It records a live performance, group improvisation to set texts, made in Cologne last November. The group includes Lucio Capece, Moor Mother, Colin Hacklander and Farahnaz Hatam, with texts recited by Marcel Dickhage, Cathleen Schuster and Mattin. I’m not sure how much editing was involved: each track is exactly seven minutes, possibly as an agreed structure. The premise is earnest: “Europe was (still is) slowly going down.” The seven tracks here seek to draw a comparison between revolutionary events in Europe in 1917 and 100 years later.

Looking back to the past may seem a reactionary gesture, but this is not done in hope of finding a solution. Contrast is made between two approaches, “a collective attempt at social transformation and a desperate lonely gesture”. The tension between the individual and the collective, already noted above, becomes the fabric of the music.

Each piece, except one, generates a swirling electroacoustic miasma, accompanied by texts declaimed in English or German. The use of electronics, including samplers, necessarily makes determining individual performances impossible; collective action is often the ideal of improvisation. The texts, juxtaposing events in Russia in 1917 with present-day events, emerge out of the music as often as the music acts as a backing for the texts. As is typical in these situations, the texts may either be ignored or will detract from the music. At times the sound is reminiscent of some of Nono’s tape compositions, particularly La fabbrica illuminata – which in fact gets namechecked in the sleeve notes. It sounds good, but we’re back to finding comfort in revolutionary gestures of the past – gestures which were all ultimately unsuccessful. Perhaps we don’t want change as much as we want to think it may happen.

Even though Mattin (and – possibly – his collective) isn’t foolhardy enough to propose solutions here, the project still seems designed to fail. It’s an honest response to a pervading sense of dissatisfaction in the current political consensus, but trying to “think the present through the lenses of radical historical moments” throws up a set of presumptions as to who is the Old Guard and who is the desperate radical. Like I said, some moments sound like 60s agitprop. There’s a bitter irony in the last track when a tirade making the usual gripes about elections is placed against the latest parliamentary machinations in Venezuela. Perhaps the whole thing is a wind-up, throwing nostalgic revolutionary noises and false equivalences around like firecrackers; the last track extends beyond seven minutes to include the audience applauding once the show is over, neatly packaged away.

Again, I may be overthinking it, but this album seems to work more effectively as a political statement if any earnest intentions are disregarded and taken instead within a gigantic pair of scare quotes. The audience is heard at one other point, on track six. This track is a discussion between Mattin and the other musicians about the nature of the projects, in the manner of Godard’s woolly fantasy of Maoist society. All other political debates referenced throughout the gig melt down here into the most essential, between individual and group. Towards the end, one voice shrugs off the debate, saying “I just like making sounds”. She received a round of applause.

Songbook #7 is available as a download or on vinyl LP – the material object is the only recorded music format that makes a profit.

Vital Weekly

Maybe it is strange to say this, but although I don't understand the work of Mattin, I really like it.
There is always a concept behind what he does and most of the times I don't get what it is about.
Here is 'Songbook #7', which takes two moments in history as inspiration: "1) The first seven
months of 1917 in revolutionary Russia. 2) The figure of Germaine Berton (pictured on the cover),
the anarchist who in 1923 was accused of murdering Marius Plateau, director of the far-right
organization French Action League." This is all highly political stuff; just what it means is a bit
clouded. Surely it is a comment on our troubled times of rising conservation and totalitarianism.
Mattin recorded this record along with his bandmates, co-musicians, or whatever he calls them
and they are Farahnaz Hatam, Colin Hacklander, Lucio Capece, Moor Mother, Cathleen Schuster
and Marcel Dickhage. The music was recorded November 2017 at Digging the Global South
Festival in Cologne, but I think there has been some kind of editing/ The instruments used are
drums, computer, electronics, sampler and bass clarinet while various voices are used. This is an
odd record; partly heavily in the world of experimental music, with a slight tendency towards noise
and some old school industrial music on the second side, but it also has elements of rock music,
more especially punk rock, with all shouting vocals, and the drums buried in the mix; so effectively
punk that is not very well recorded (which I love). But likewise, it can be silent for some time, with
just a bit of mumbling. It's a most curious record and that's why I love Mattin's work. I never have a
clue what it is about and the music is most of the times quite a surprise, and this record is no
exception to that. Lyrics, if that is what they are (not sure there, either) are enclosed here, for your
sing-along chant, clarification or perhaps for further inspection of the historical subject of it all. It's
like opening a can of ideas! (FdW)

OX Fanzine, #144 Juni/Juli 2019, Carsten Vollmer (Solingen)

Ist Mattin nun Baske oder doch Spanier oder gar Europäer oder am Ende ganz Weltbürger? Das war die erste Frage, die mir in den Kopf kam, als ich mich etwas ausführlicher mit diesem umtriebigen Experimentalmusiker auseinandersetzte. Besonders weil er sehr viel Wert auf Kollaborationen, Improvisation und konzeptionelles Arbeiten mit anderen Künstlern unterschiedlichster Prägung legt. Ein durchgängiges Thema sind seine sogenannten „Liederbücher“, bei denen er immer präzise und ausgearbeitete Konzepte vorgibt. Wichtig scheinen ihm dabei auch die zeitlichen, handwerklichen Vorgaben und speziell das Spiel mit den Zahlen zu sein. In „Songbook #7“ bezieht sich demnach logischerweise alles auf die Zahl Sieben: Also sieben Tracks nach den ersten sieben Monaten betitelt, sieben Minuten lang und so fort. Das weiterführende spezielle Thema hier ist die Auseinandersetzung mit dem wiederaufkommenden Faschismus und die Frage: Soll man diesem nun mit einer Konterrevolution, hier wird die russische vorgegeben, entgegentreten oder soll man wie die Anarchistin Germaine Berton, die auch das Cover besetzt, den politischen Gegner kaltblütig ermorden? Musikalische Unterstützung bei diesen stimmungsvollen Live-Improvisationen, die zwischen aufgesetzter Musique Concrète, konstruierten Hörspielszenen und permanent unterschwellig schleifenden Mischdrones pendeln, bekommt er von Collin Hackender, Farahnaz Hatam oder Cathleen Schuster und drei weiteren Mitstreiter*innen, so dass es insgesamt wieder sieben Aus- und Aufführende ergibt. Dieses in sich geschlossene Konzept wird auch auf dem beiliegenden Informationsblatt erschöpfend vorgestellt. Am Ende präsentiert sich das Ganze dann doch etwas zu überladen und wirkt musikalisch sehr zäh, zahn- und belanglos. Damit erinnert diese Inszenierung eher an eine gutgemeinte Abschlussarbeit der Musikhochschule als an wirklich ernstzunehmende und auch allgemein verständliche Gesellschaftskritik.

Bad Alchemy (October 2021)

Licking Ears, fucking Brains - Mattin (Berlin)

Mattin Artiach, kurz MATTIN, hat, zuletzt mit "Songbook #6" (2017), als konzeptioneller Ka­putt- & Wachmacher eine konstante Präsenz in BA. Entgangen ist mir demnach mit "Song­book #7" (Munster Records, 2019) als a disintegrated manifesto exploring the truth of dis­agreement in Rückbesinnung auf etwa Red Crayola and Art and Language sein nächster Hammer- & Sichelwurf, mit dem er die Petrograder Revolution 1917 und Germaine Bertons Attentat auf einen Wortführer der Action Française 1923 in Erinnerung ruft als kollektiv-kommunistische und anarchistisch-individuelle Notwehr gegen die kapitalistische Ausbeu­tung und die faschistische Bedrohung. Mit Verschwörungserzählungen sind das Crack für das Zeitalter der Hoffnungslosigkeit als Diagnose der »Freundinnen und Freunde der klas­senlosen Gesellschaft«, dem Berliner Zweig des »Kosmoprolet«-Netzwerks, positionieren sich Mattin & Genoss*en mit Slavoj Zizeks 'Mut der Hoffnungslosigkeit' und Anthony Iles, Mirene Arsanios, Federica Bueti, Ray Brassier, Samo Tomšič als Denkanstoßgeber*n gegen Verblendung ebenso wie gegen den 'aufgeklärten Zynismus 4.0', gegen die Propagandistenfalscher Paradiese und die Darth Vaders der Apokalypse, gegen Kon­ditionierung, Selbstgefälligkeit und Identitätsbesessenheit. Mit Lenins Aprilthesen als Bettlektüre wird im Roten Salon Kerenskis Menschewiki-Regentschaft im Juli '17 zum so­zialdemokratisch-parlamentarischen Verrat an der Revolution. Als Erben dieser falschen Option bliebe einem in einem Staat, der die Herrschaft der Finanzbarone garantiert, weshalb der junge Bucharin ihn noch vollständig zerstören wollte, nur die Wahl des Ver­arschers und der Lieblingsmarken. 0,0 % wählten die MLPD, 0,0 % die DKP, 4,9 % Die Linke. Wobei die groteske Theatralik der "Songbook #7"-Show die Einstellung zur Demokratie, zu Wahlen, zu revolutionären Zielen und Mitteln sowie dem Ich oder Wir, das sie verfolgen könnte, letztlich in der Schwebe lässt und vorläufig die Sympathie für zivilen Ungehorsam noch jede Sympathy for Satan überwiegt. Einen roten oder meinetwegen schwarzen Faden bildet währenddessen auch Mattins Kol­laboration mit dem Drummer Anders Bryngelsson als REGLER. Ihre Reihe von Dekonstruk­tionen von Free Jazz & Noise Core ("Regel #3"), Harsh Noise ("Regel #4"), Manfred Werder ("Regel #5"), Techno & Drone ("Regel #6"), Metal ("Regel #8") oder Blues ("Regel #9") kon­frontiert sich nun bei Regel #11 (No Wave) (At War With False Noise, ATWAR207) mit der Erschwernis, dass No Wave selber bereits die totale Verneinung als Raison d'Être re­klamiert. Wie müsste, wie könnte ein Nein zweiter Ordnung klingen? Wie lässt sich, was nach Lydia Lunch dissident um jeden Preis sein und klingen wollte, als würde man sich die Seele auskotzen, festmachen, um es zu potenzieren, zu maximalisieren? Antwort: Indem man es nicht festmacht. Als Art Brut, die von allem zehrt, das nach Kotze riecht oder klingt - als Wechselspiel aus Jazzcore-, Noise- und Black-Metal-Brocken, gefetzt von Mattins Gitarre und dem blökenden, röhrenden, kirrenden Saxofon von Dario Fariello, und stillen Löchern, die Bryngelssons primitive und monotone Schläge nur notdürftig überbrücken. Ab und zu bekommt man auch nur was gehustet oder ein No No No an den Kopf geworfen. Und zuletzt groovt Bryngelsson minutenlang ein kakophones und stumpfsinniges Immer­soweiter. Ja, Ihr da, Regel #1: Glotzt nicht so konsumistisch. Allerdings ist das noch halbwegs einsichtig im Vergleich zu Licking Ears (Edition Erich Schmid, CDr), einer Performance von MATTIN in kompletter Finsternis, mit dem Publikum als 'Instrument'. Er 'bespielte' es, indem er Leuten was ins Ohr flüsterte, was den übrigen freilich unverständlich blieb. Es war die Frage, ob er ihnen das Ohr lecken dürfte. Bei de­nen, die sich das gefallen ließen, tat er es offenbar, bevor er, von niemanden im Dunkeln je gesehen, den Raum verließ. Ich glaub, mein Hipster bohnert. OK, Lucys "Iiiiih, ein Hund hatmich geküsst!" bleibt einem erspart, oder vorenthalten, je nachdem. Der Tonträger liefert das Gewisper nun nah genug, um fast die Lippen zu spüren. Ob freilich so ein irritierender Kitzel ausreicht, um gegen die apokalyptischen Reiter Beherrschen, Verwerten, Er­schöpfen & Zerstören, wie Eva von Redecker sie nennt (in "Revolution für das Leben. Philosophie der neuen Protestformen"), neue Fußsoldaten in Stellung zu bringen? [BA 112 rbd]